ISAC mentors and students

Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum

Information for Students

The Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum (ISAC) Program assists Penn faculty in bringing environmental sustainability into existing and new courses.  The Penn Sustainability Office provides full funding support for graduate or undergraduate summer research assistants, who work directly with faculty to update or create new syllabi, lectures, assignments, texts, and/or tests that incorporate environmental themes.  Each student works 20 hours a week with two different professors, starting in June, to allow the student to benefit from exposure to two different faculty members working on two different courses.

After working with faculty members for the course of the summer, students present their completed research at a wrap-up lunch in the early fall. 

Over the past four summers, the ISAC program has brought in numerous students to work with 45 faculty in a diverse array of disciplines, including architecture, law, biology, engineering, urban planning, and Germanic languages. Faculty participants have reported an extremely high quality work and have been delighted by their students’ productivity and enthusiasm for the work. 


Get Involved

Students who are accepted into the ISAC Program will serve as Research Fellows for eight weeks over the summer. Each student will be teamed with two faculty members and will help to integrate sustainability into their courses. This work may involve researching material for the course, developing new assignments, contributing to lectures, and compiling course reading lists.

ISAC Fellows are expected to:

  • Work closely with the faculty members to whom they are assigned on the development of their courses;
  • Attend two update meetings with Penn Sustainability Staff over the project duration;
  • Actively participate in four sustainability-themed field trips with other student research interns;
  • Present their course development in a poster session at the end of the summer.

The ISAC Fellowship is considered equivalent to a full-time job (35-40 hours a week).  Fellows will be paid $11 per hour. The internship is eight weeks long beginning Monday, June 4th.

How to Apply

Please send your resume and unofficial transcripts to with "ISAC 2018" in the subject line. The deadline to apply for the student positions will be Friday, March 2nd. If selected for further review, a one page statement of interest will be required. For more information, please see the 2018 Student Application. Please reach out to Madeline Schuh ( should you have any questions. 


Previous Program

ISAC Program 2017

The following courses were developed during last summer's ISAC program:

  • EcoFeminism & ENVS 100: Intro to Environmental Studies, (Litty Paxton and Alain Plante, School of Arts & Sciences)  
  • Sustainable Safe Drinking Water in Philadelphia & Urban Water Systems (Richard Pepino and Howard Neukrug, School of Arts & Sciences)
  • Lower Schuylkill Symposium (Bethany Wiggin and Nikhal Anand, School of Arts & Sciences)  
  • ANTH 440: Plants and Society & ANTH 415: Archeology of Animals (Chantel White and Katherine Moore, School of Arts & Sciences)  
  • Architecture Summer Abroad Studio (Rebecca Popowski, Fritz Steiner, and Randall Mason; Penn Design)

ISAC 2017 Posters

Sustainable Safe Drinking Water in Philadelphia & Urban Water Systems  EcoFeminism & ENVS 100: Intro to Environmental Studies   ANTH 440: Plants and Society & ANTH 415: Archeology of Animals 

Information on earlier ISAC programs from 2012 to 2016 are available on the ISAC Archive page.